NationStates Jolt Archive


20-12-2003, 20:04
We in Burkonia are concerned that much UN legislation inflicts high costs on member states, costs which are easier for larger, wealthier states to pay for, while smaller states are stuck footing a bill disproportionate to their economic means. We believe that many well-intentioned resolutions are not well though out in economic terms. This inflicts harsh costs on member nations, and in the end, makes resolutions unenforceable, undermining both the good intended in individual legislation and the credibility of the lawmaking body of the UN as a whole.

Some other governmental institutions have legislation banning unfunded mandates on subordinate institutions. We are hesitant to support this at the international level because it might mean the UN would simply raise their membership dues to cover funding, though we would be interested in suggestions on pursuing such a plan.

For now, we would like to suggest a more modest proposal. At the least, we would suggest that the UN must do an economic impact report on the affect of their legislation on member states and provide a funding clause in legislation.

Included in this report would need to be
--the cost of the legislation on the UN as an institution
--the cost of the legislation on member states
--the cost on individual businesses and citizens of member states and potential economic damage (and economic good) done
--the means of funding for the legislation
--an explanation of how those means would be provided for, and, if other programs must be cut, what they would be

All of this would need to be provided in the forum at the time of proposal of the legislation (or shortly before), and we would expect the initial burden to be on the proposing nation. Costs would need to be considered both in the short and long term, and both in explicit terms of currency paid, and broader impact to the economy as a whole.

We would also suggest requiring that a summary of the report be included in an article of the legislation. The summary would include a shortened version of all of the above and an explicit explanation of how UN funding would be provided.

While we are not yet prepared to propose the legislation, we would like to open debate and discussion on it. Please, offer arguments for or against and suggestions for more specific content of such a resolution so that the product that will be proposed will be stronger.
Shee City
21-12-2003, 01:08
Would you support a resolution requiring UN resolutions to include an economic impact report with a summary of economic costs and an explicit description of funding sources?

No - because it's a game mechanics proposal, and as such would be deleted by the mods. You can't require people to state their funding any more than you can require them to use good English.

On the other hand, if a proposal has no relevant economic detail in it, I generally won't support it. If you say, "We're going to do X, Y and Z" when X, Y and Z are going to be expensive, and you don't even give ballpark figures, then you obviously haven't thought your proposal out fully.

Thinking about it, even if you could enforce such a proposal as you're suggesting, there are a number of people who would have No Clue and would just stick random figures in. Though admittedly, this would show up the godmoders.

21-12-2003, 01:25
I was going to say that this was veering towards game mechanics, but SC went and beat me to the punch.
21-12-2003, 10:50
I agree that there needs to be restraint on the introduction of new measures which lead to unjustifiable cost increases, but economic impact statements of the kind proposed may just end up being an additional bureacratic cost.

Often the actual cost is difficult to quantify, so it is easy for the supporters of the measure to fudge the report, producing a low estimated cost (or high projected compensating income), which looks plausible but turns out not to eventuate. Then it's too late.

At least, that's what happens in the real world!
Shee City
21-12-2003, 11:34
At least, that's what happens in the real world!

And that's the other problem :)

I'm never quite sure how the economic effects of a proposal actually reflect on the countries' economy once the proposal becomes a resolution. Given that proposals are judged purely by category (rather than by the actual wording) there must be some kind of trade-off, but I have no idea what it is.

That, of course, is another reason against your idea - as the actual text has no effect on the game, whether or not there's funding doesn't actually matter - it will only serve to get people to notice and/or vote for your proposal.

21-12-2003, 14:45
I would support the idea that proposals give an idea of how projects would be funded, although you can't make it obligatory becuase of the game mechanics issue. However, asking nations to give actual figures is a bit much, given that this is a game, few of us are economists, and the NS world works so differently to the real world (the size of the world is one of the main issues).
21-12-2003, 17:44
But would it still be a mechanics issue if the proposing state, not the UN, had to include the clause explaining funding?

One could (we think) propose legislation requiring wealthy states to provide a fraction of their income for education or environmental clean up. In such legislation, the means of funding would be the very resolution itself.

That is where we are not clear. How would it be any more a mechanical proposal to require legislation that is not so explicit to explain at least funding for direct costs than for a proposal that requires explicit expenditure itself.

We do not wish to belabor a point, but simply to clarify.

The People and Royal Highness of Burkonia
21-12-2003, 18:00
Often the actual cost is difficult to quantify, so it is easy for the supporters of the measure to fudge the report, producing a low estimated cost (or high projected compensating income), which looks plausible but turns out not to eventuate. quote]

Of course, costs can never be fully known before a policy is put in effect. But there are certain absolute costs that can be known. The point on more ambiguous costs would be to open debate and make member states aware of the issues at hand. These would be the costs most important to, say, the spam resolution, and any discussion would be general. The clause might be little more than a sentence or two. There are more obvious costs, however, that could be more closely approximated. For instance, who will be hired to enforce the resolution, take complaints about spam (or whatever the issue may be) or to punish wrong doers.

As for the bureaucratic costs of including such estimations, we too were concerned, but we feel that these costs should be born by the proposing nation. They would assume such a burden by proposing the legislation. Again, they may be less than open about costs, but it would provide a start. In the case of explicit costs, it would be to their advantage to be as accurate as possible, or even over estimate, as underestimation would undermine enforcement of the legislation, making it worthless. In the case of economic effects, of course they will underestimate the damage, but at least the issues will be laid on the table for further debate.

We would appreciate further suggestions in dealing with this difficult issue. We would also be interested in suggestions on how to address the issue without creating mechanics issues.

The People and HRH, Monarch of Burkonia